Monday, June 9, 2014

Huge harvest, paltry payoff

Here's the season summary from the recent Togiak sac roe herring fishery.

The numbers look pretty weird.

The harvest was enormous at 25,136 tons.

The payoff was lousy. At an estimated $50 per ton ex-vessel, the fishery was worth a grand total of $1.26 million.

Last year's grounds price was $150 per ton.

Togiak was like church the Sunday after Easter, with very few boats showing up.

Only 17 purse seiners and 24 gillnetters took part in the fishery, compared with 26 seiners and 37 gillnetters in 2013.

Can the once riotous Togiak herring fishery fall any farther?


Anonymous said...

the only boats that "show up" are those that have an official invitation (literally) from one of the buyers.

Anonymous said...

With big Canadian and Alaskan harvests this year, the excess inventory of roe herring and herring roe held by Japanese importers and processors is massive. If harvest predictions for 2015 are large, look for more Togiak buyers and fishermen to drop out. This is going to get down to who can fish for 50 to 60/ton and who can process for the lowest cost. it will get worse before it gets better.

Anonymous said...

The fishery has changed in the last decade. The harvest's are not "enormous" but a percentage of the returning fish. Read deeper into the ADF&G report on Western Herring stocks to realize what the harvest could be. Industry attempts to take what it needs to cover their market needs, and fishers are well organized in co-operative joint ventures. This year some fishing co-ops elected to have some fishers stay home in order to reduce expenses. Don't read more into the report than what is there. Advance dollars this year were low, but as in past years, fishers expect more dollars by Septmeber.

Anonymous said...

The market has changed in the past ten and the fishers HAVE NOT adapted to the changed market. As in the past decades, 'all you can get' is still what fishers want. Now that fishers are also acting as marketers in this new co-op, they learn that a co-op is a double edge sword that can cut one way as easily as another. In other words, a chance to share in the profits is also a chance to share in the losses. I wish them well, but the track record so far shows more harm than help to the market for kazunoko. Also, where is all this expansion money coming from if not from profits? Who will not have a chair when the music stops?

Anonymous said...

This is proof that cheap fish being taken is all about keeping the processors and buyers supplied, and at any cost to the resource, fishermen and the state. It is also testimony that some harvesters would do it just to stay afloat, with large volume deliveries and less competition, they can make it work. It also sets a precedence for future fisheries, do not be surprised to see prices dip in other fisheries, as business dictates that margins between bought and sold are the order of the day, fishermen MUST stop the individual cannibalism of a fishery or the processors will ultimately own the vessels and permits, the fishermen will become bidders to run those company owned boats. It has already happened and it is, in my opinion, going to happen in Ak.